In business development, sales reps are taught how to effectively probe. They are challenged to ask the questions that will allow them to propose the right solution to the client, rather than just proposing a cookie-cutter solution. The better reps are at listening, asking the right questions and presenting the best solution, the more likely they are to become trusted advisors to their clients. However, at n-gen, we encourage reps to ask further questions to understand the ‘need behind the need’.
Defining the ‘need behind the need’
In working with clients, reps have to recognize that they hold a dual position. Yes, they represent the interest of their organizations and have specific mandates to fill. That is why they are asking the reps to present possible solutions. However, those clients across from whom you might sit are also employees. All the way from the gate keeper to the CEO, they are all employees who as individuals have certain agendas, personal mandates or goals they are trying to achieve. So to be truly effective and to increase the likelihood of having the proposal successfully accepted, it’s important to understand what motivates and drives the decision makers (and the influencers). What do they value on an individual level?
Starting with Generational Goals
At n-gen, we encourage those people working in business development and marketing to use generational goals as a way of potentially addressing the need behind the need. Traditionalists want to build a legacy; Baby Boomers want to put their stamp on things; Gen Xers want to maintain professional independence (through increased employment marketability) and Gen Ys want to create a work and life that has meaning. In the probing, it might be helpful to listen carefully to see if you can identify what is driving the decision maker. Does it align to one of these goals, or to other factors that each generation values?
Position the Solution
Certainly in positioning the solution, one shows how the solution meets the technical and non-technical mandates that had been presented through the needs analysis. In addition, refined messaging will also include verbiage or messages that address what the decision-makers themselves value as an employee of the organization. That’s why it also important to try to be able to speak to the decision-maker directly. The more reps are able to position the solutions to address both organizational and individual values and motivators, the greater the success the reps will have in becoming trusted advisors.